9 May - Kuala Lumpur region. Mosques, fireflies and ice cream!


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Asia » Malaysia » Selangor » Shah Alam
May 9th 2012
Published: May 13th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Late start this morning, getting up and out of the hostel in time for lunch down one of the nearby streets. Had a lovely chicken curry noodle which cost about $3 and completely filled us up.

Made our way to Central Station where we hopped a train out to Shah Alam, the home of the Masjid Sultan Salhuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, also called the Blue Mosque. The train was about a 30 or 40 minute trip and when we embarked was fairly packed, but had emptied out enough for a seat about half way there. A quick taxi ride took us to the Mosque, where we spent a good hour or two taking photos.

We had a tour, which we could only do after donning a covering which covered most of our clothes and a head cover. The mosque itself was very pretty and essentially modeled on the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. It's azure dome is covered in a rosette of verses from the Qaran. It is one of the largess mosques in south east Asia and can accommodate up to 24,000 worshippers at any one time. The minarets are apparently the tallest in the world. We had a lovely man show us around the mosque and even let us take photos despite all the signs saying we weren't allowed.

Afterwards, when it started raining, we got a cab back to the train station (had to get out right when the downpour occurred!) and hopped n the same train a few more stops to Klang. On arrival at the train station in Klang we headed straight for the bus station to check the times of the buses for Kuala Salangor which proved to be an interesting challenge.

Not only was everyone overly helpful to help us find the right bus, including yelling the bus number through a megaphone, but then jumped out of the bus to give us directions. Having established the bus times we headed back across the river for a quick wander and to take photos of the other mosques in the city before grabbing a very quick dinner at a restaurant/cafe that was under the stairs of the bridge.

The questions asked by the waitress consisted of whether we wanted a bowl or pot and whether the bowls should be big or small. No questions about what was going to be in them, so we figured we would be in for a surprise. And we were, it was like this slow cooked pork in a broth or soup with rice. Despite the fact that I wouldn't usually eat pork, it was lovely. And washed it all down with Chinese iced tea.

A quick dash back to get the 645pm bus to Kuala Salangor. It was lucky we got on when we did, people continued to pile on for some time after we took two of the last three seats, so I think we were both relieved to have gotten a seat. Napped a bit of the way, while keeping an eye on the driver at the same time.

He started off with repeatedly counting a rather thick wad of cash, not once or twice but three or four times. Another time I looked he was smoking while talking on the phone. Another time he started to sort out his coins into piles on his dashboard. Just what you want the bus driver to be doing while driving. Was also a stunning sunset as we were driving, with a bright red sun that we were pretty much driving straight into. If it wasn't for the shocking suspension on the bus and the bumps in the road I may have attempted photographing it, but just didn't have the patience to even try it!

An hour later we arrived in Kuala Salangor at a very empty and deserted bus station. Took us a while to find a cab and negotiate a price to drive us out to Kampung Kuantan to see the fireflies and then back to KL. Turned out to be more of an informal cab organized by the taxi people at the bus station, but it got the job done.

Quick ride out to KK, via what we think was our driver's house for about five minutes, although we don't know what was doing. He then dropped us at the fireflies and came back later on to pick us up.

We had a boat ride where we got to see the thousands of fire flies up close. They're known locally as 'kelip-kelip' as that is the sound that they make. They flash about three times a second and gather in the trees living the Sungai Salangor (river). We got rowed out in a little wooden boat and then across to the river banks to watch them. A few other boats also around but it was fairly quiet really, certainly the first tourists that we had seen since leaving KL. The taxi home was in eventful, barring a taxi switch from our informal can to a metered one somewhere just outside of KL. All up it was about n hour and a halts drive, but still ended up costing us less than a day tour for the two of us.

Dropped at our hostel before heading out for the 'World's Best Ice Cream' at a place called Mado in Bukit Bintang. It was delicious, pricey but amazing, certainly the best ice cream I had had for ages, possibly ever...

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14th May 2012

Ice cream
World's best ice cream? Big claim but sounds like you are having fun. You and temples are a theme on these trips... :)

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